Apparently the man upstairs does work in mysterious ways.
Just one day after I decided my life would be better by swearing off sports, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa decided to retire. So to use a phrase that I never thought I would utter in my life: Thanks, Tony! I’m back!
Much will be made over the next few days of La Russa’s genius — his six pennants, three World Series titles, the third-most wins all-time, etc., etc.
I’ll remember his blind eye to the obviously juicing Bash Brothers in Oakland, his petulance when someone asked him a difficult question, and the whole falling asleep drunk at a stoplight deal. But that’s only because La Russa is one of my least-favorite baseball figures of all time.
It occurred to me today that I never actually hated the Cardinals when Whitey Herzog and Joe Torre managed them — it wasn’t until Tony came along that feelings of ill will towards the franchise truly began to fester. It’s a lot easier to hate Tony’s Tools — Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds and Chris Carpenter, to name but a few — than it ever was to dislike Ozzie Smith or Bob Tewksbury.
And let’s not forget that it was La Russa who pretty much ran the Wizard of Oz out of the organization for the duration of his tenure, a perfect example of how easily La Russa seems to divide his world into friends and enemies. I’d be privileged to fit into the latter category.
But that’s enough hating on La Russa. After all, the man made my day.
PS – If the Cardinals hire Ryne Sandberg as their next manager, I will take back everything I just said and blow up the universe.